”Lost”: Locke finds more evidence
Let me begin by repeating an observation my friend Liz made during the first moments of this episode: ”Making a map to your downed balloon? Well, ‘balloon in tree’ is a lot more helpful than ‘go around mountain.’ ” Also, don’t pillory me for pointing out that this line — poignant context aside — is hilarious: ”He pretended to love me just long enough to steal my kidney!”
Now on to what proved a rather gripping installment of Lost. The quick and dirty: Locke and Henry Gale are caught in the Hatch lounge when some sort of lockdown goes into effect and blast doors fall, walling them off from the rest of the compound — and the button. The timer counts down. Locke’s legs are trapped beneath a blast door, so reluctantly, he explains the button to Henry. Henry appears to prove trustworthy and wriggles through the vents, ostensibly to push the button. The timer counts down — to zero, by the sound of it. The lights flicker out, black-light backups come on, and Locke sees what appears to be a map of the island and its various Dharma stations scrawled in invisible ink on the blast door. Jack’s not around to witness all this because he’s too busy playing Texas hold ’em with Sawyer, in a gambit to win back the meds that Sawyer stole and to generally emasculate him. (Both objectives are accomplished.) Meanwhile, Ana Lucia, Sayid, and Charlie find Henry’s balloon, along with what appears to be the grave of his wife. But all is not as it appears, of course, and — here’s the climactic reveal — the body in the grave is a man’s, not a woman’s. The man has a driver’s license. The driver’s license belongs to one Henry Gale, an African American from Minnesota who looks not a thing like our Henry. The jig is up.
The TiVo moment was, of course, the map. Someone was behind those blast doors long enough to plot out the whole Dharma development scheme — someone who didn’t want anyone from the outside knowing what he’d figured out. (Why else draw it on a blast door in ink visible only beneath a black light?) The map is arranged in an octagon (of course), with six stations arranged within — some are drawn with dotted lines, suggesting they’re…defunct? Off limits? Infected? Who knows? What appear to be rivers and landforms are superimposed over the diagram. There’s a large ”I AM HERE” scrawled next to the Swan, the Losties’ home hatch. The Caduceus, the medical Hatch where Claire was held, is also clearly visible. An odd box marked ”CVI” (or something similar) is also visible. Smaller, less legible notes are scrawled everywhere. Oh yes: In the center there’s a giant question mark. As is only appropriate. The map seemed to sear itself on Locke’s brain — we saw it reflected in his eye for big, fat, meaningful seconds. I sense a shift in Locke: Will the static mystery of the button cede its place to the mystery of the map?
Speaking of mysteries: What of the lockdown? There’s rampant speculation that it’s yet another Dharma mind game, intended to keep Hatchlings from seeing things they shouldn’t. Like, for instance, where the food comes from. Shortly after the lockdown, Kate and Jack run across what appears to be a food drop: a shipment of Dharma-labeled foodstuffs dropped by parachute from the wild blue yonder, in a manner that very much suggests the reward cheese dropped into a psychologist’s rat maze. (See, Hurley? There was no reason to hoard ranch dressing after all. Just fulfill the terms of the experiment and more will be provided.) Clearly, the parachute wasn’t there before: It’s got a strobe light on it, easily identifying it as either a package for pickup or a very small disco. Either way, it wants to be found. But the question is, who takes the food to the Hatch? And how often? And whence does this bounty fall? Is there a plane? And if so, how high would it have to be flying to escape the Losties attention? Sure, they’ve got their private dramas and flashbacks to contend with, but even someone as self-absorbed as Sawyer would notice a friggin’ plane flying overhead.
As for flashbacks, this ep’s belonged to our friend Locke, whose fears of abandonment once again reared their bald little heads. We found out that he was a home inspector in the 714 (that’s Orange County, Calif.) and that one of the homes he inspected belonged to Sayid’s long-lost love, Nadia, the freedom fighter he secretly freed from the clutches of Saddam’s regime, who was presumably in a witness-protection-like setup. We also found out how he lost Helen (Katey Sagal): Dear old Pops pulled another scam, faked his death, and walked off with a truckload of cash, thanks to his one-kidneyed son’s efforts. Locke found himself deceiving Helen to aid the con — not for the money but for the father-son bond — and the revelation of his lie ripped them apart once and for all. All this after he’d gone and bought the ring! Stupid Locke’s dad. Anthony, he said his name was. But that’s probably one of many names. Hmmm…career con artist, always on the run, man of many names…might one of those names be…Sawyer?
But there are more urgent matters afoot. The Losties now have a real, live Other in custody. One who may or may not have triggered the whole blast-door incident for the sole purpose of showing Locke that map. The crew either just gained an amazing asset or just took in a mind-gaming mole. The good news is, he probably knows where to get more of those tasty Dharma-brand Lost Krispies.
What do you think? Did Henry Gale allow himself to be captured? Who drew the map? And will the castaways ever discover all of their connections in their pre-crash lives?